The seed of kindness blooming inside us often urges us to go out of our way and make people’s lives better. While volunteer work and small acts of kindness are significant, they may not be enough for some people. These individuals aim to devote their lives to helping their community. The best course of a path for them is to take on a career that will allow them to pursue their passions. They should aim for a career that will help them make a significant difference in people’s lives and positively impact the world. Education and career prospects in social work are the best choice for such people. If you have the same passion for helping people and want a career in social work, this career guide is for you.
1. Research If Social Work Is Suitable For You
While you may think your passion for helping people is sufficient proof, researching is still necessary. As choosing a career requires commitments, you must carefully consider all the aspects of education and jobs and then make a decision.
Depending upon your willingness to spend time studying, you can consider graduate or undergraduate social work programs. You will also have to consider the different majors and specializations you are interested in pursuing.
Nonetheless, you can find many career counselors that can guide you about the long-term benefits of different careers and enlighten you about various opportunities.
2. Complete the Educational Requirements
Excelling in any field requires you to have at least undergraduate education. You can choose between jobs like a family caseworker, a mental health assistant, case manager, etc. But if you want to dive into clinical work, you must have a degree of masters in social work. A master’s in social work degree is crucial for expanding your career opportunities.
In case you choose to pursue a career in social work after completing your bachelor’s degree in some other major, you can still earn a master’s degree.
Consider the job you want, the position you aim to achieve, and your lifestyle aims. Then choose the career that will allow you to achieve all these goals, and then finally decide the master’s degree needed for this job.
Consider your present conditions and decide if you want to pursue an online masters social work degree or physically attend university. To do so, consider your financial constraints, work timings, and learning capabilities.
3. Apply For a License
Suppose you have decided on a profession to pursue and completed the educational requirements needed for the job. In that case, you will need a work license. The need for a permit is to ensure that every professional social worker fulfills the merit criteria and is eligible for the job. Several requirements determine the qualification of the individual against specific standards. Every country and state may have different license requirements, so make sure you research them before applying.
4. Deciding a Career as a Social Worker
Now that you have fulfilled the educational requirements and hold a license, you are ready to start working as a social worker. You will find many career opportunities in the vast field of social work. The varieties will depend upon societies, demographics, cultures, roles, etc. But you have to make sure that the job you choose reflects your values and passions. You must have all the skills needed to fulfill these jobs. Some examples of career options in the field of social work are:
- Child Welfare Social Worker: A child welfare social worker’s role is to resolve family conflicts affecting the household’s minors. The goal is to ensure a loving, nurturing, and safe environment for the kids, so the social worker stands up for the children.
The main goal of child protection workers is to protect children from abusive households. They provide a secure environment for children who are victims of neglect and work for their betterment.
- Clinical Social Worker: For this profession, you will need a master’s degree and a license to practice as a clinical social worker. This job aims to manage cases and assist patients in dealing with their mental conditions. So you may find employment as a therapist and conduct mental health diagnoses.
- Criminal Justice: The job of a forensics social worker is to look into all legal matters and problems in the light of social principles. They apply for this role in both civil and criminal areas. So you may find jobs at positions like consultants or expert witnesses for cases. You will also hold the responsibility to guide and advise the jury, lawyers, police, etc.
- Gerontological Social Workers: Their work generally revolves around guiding older clients and families. They provide psychological and emotional support to their client and help them resolve issues that come with aging. Apart from their clients, a gerontological social worker also guides the caretakers and families to manage the financial and other factors.
- Medical Social Worker: A branch of social work that intertwines with the healthcare industry is medical social work. A medical social worker assists their patients dealing with chronic pains or terminal diseases. They aim to provide psychological as well as social support to their patients.
- Military Social Worker: Military members, as well as the families of those who are serving, need social and mental support. A military social worker’s job is to provide psychological support to their clients and help them find employment. You will also have to help veterans settle back into society once they are out of service and help them find work.
- Pediatric Social Worker: A pediatric social worker collaborates with a physician to provide healthcare support to children and families. Generally, children with special needs, disabilities, and sicknesses are the primary clients.
Choosing a career in social work can be beneficial for you if you aim to help your communities. A social work career will allow you to find ways to help people to the best of your capabilities and work for change. It can be a gratifying career for people, as you will help people live to the best of their ability. That is why we can observe a significant job growth of up to 14% in this decade.